Friday, October 08, 2010

At what point does Ezra Klein's column qualify as a campaign contribution?

During the health care debate, the WashPost blogger never missed an opportunity to parrot the Obama Administration's line, regardless of the evidence. So imagine my surprise when I saw the headline "Welcome to the anti-stimulus" in response the morning news that we're still mired at 9.6% unemployment.

Zing! Damn straight, Ezra. Could it be the uncertainty in the job market brought about by Obamacare or Congress's inability to pass any appropriation bills or bring a resolution to the debate over the Bush tax cuts? How about the mismanagement of the stimulus and the paltry number of jobs it's "saved or created?" The continued mess in the housing market despite the billions in TARP money thrown at banks?

Nope. Predictable as the sun rising in the East, Ezra got his marching order from David Plouffe:

The government can't make the private sector invest. They can't demand that Wal-Mart start hiring. They can offer incentives, and tax breaks, and encouragement, but that's it. The same cannot be said when it comes to public sector jobs. The government can, if it's willing to run deficits, keep those workers employed. But Senate Republicans, alongside some conservative Democrats, have decided to make the government pro-cyclical: Rather than fighting the downturn in the business cycle, the government is now accelerating it.
As I've said before: if Obama didn't have the Republicans to blame, he'd have to invent them. He must be giddy that there are going to be more of them to whine about after November 2nd.

Conveniently missing from Ezra's reverie are concepts like: 1.) when the economy is poor, the public sector should suffer just as the private sector, 2.) it's not the federal government's job to save state and local jobs (they must balance their budgets, unlike the feds) and 3.) the deficit-expanding stimulus already channeled a big chunk of change to the states. Thankfully, a lot of the commenters took to Pound Ezra:

And this is somehow the FEDERAL senate republicans that are completely to blame?
What you are saying is that I, living in Chicago, have a duty as an American to support the local government in New York, California, Florida, Idaho, etc.
What kind of crazy land do you live in? Where in the Constitution, or federal code, or ANYWHERE does it say that there is a responsibility of the federal government to backstop local government?
And there's more in the comments section (scroll down). The WashPost should be embarrassed by Klein's blog which would find a better home over at the reality-based community of Daily Kos.


Anonymous said...

Could it be the uncertainty in the job market brought about by Obamacare or Congress's inability to pass any appropriation bills or bring a resolution to the debate over the Bush tax cuts?

Considering all those shiny new jobs created by the Bush tax cut the first time around, I wouldn't worry about the uncertainty.

Nice list there... you've pinpointed reasons #628, #556 and #17,002 why nobody's hiring.

Eric said...

Well, as George Will noted, the Bush tax cuts were so awful they MUST be extended.

Tell me, though, what are reasons #1-#3 that businesses aren't hiring? I'll guess "Tea Party" "Sarah Palin" and "Fox News."

Trickle-down wisdom said...

For a start, you might look at the systemic Gramm-ian deregulation of Wall Street and the banks, which directly undid half a century of security and oversight, and made the various financial risks and crises and fraud not merely feasible but necessary competitive business, which led to the Bush bailout which was structured by the same bankers who'd created the collapse with their partially criminal actions, and whose companies are now happily borrowing money from the feds at 0% interest to artificially shore up their stock prices (approximately the same interest rate they now offer their customers for savings accounts), but who will no longer loan money to anyone despite the promises they made while reaching for their bailout cash.

Or, Bush tax cuts GOOD, Democrats BAD. Whatever works for you.

Eric said...

You mean the Gramm Act passed by both the House (w/majority of Dems) and Senate and signed by President Clinton? That deregulation bill? The Republicans fooled 'em.

And now the banks are in charge and - gosh - they fooled the country too.

Since the Democrats are unable to stop the Republicans and the banks from doing whatever they want, why don't they just give up instead of keeping up the premise that they're in charge?

Trickle-down wisdom said...

Yup, Gramm-Leach-Bliley, that's the one.

So all the stuff from the previous post didn't really happen or isn't relevant, because a lot of Democrats also voted for deregulation? A penetrating retort.

You might have said "But Democrats are whores, too! But redistributive ones. So vote for the whores who really enjoy bending over!"

Fortunately, everything worked out, because it's a new economy and "the old rules don't apply anymore."

Anonymous said...

"The government can't make ... Wal-Mart start hiring."

Correct, of course.

But the government CAN let Wal-Mart build a new store or two within the city limits of Chicago. I mean, the citizens both want, and need, good products at low prices, not to mention hundreds of new entry-level (and higher) jobs.

WHOOPS! Can't piss off the unions, now can we? I mean, the unions OWN the democratic party, right? (well, in partnership with the trial lawyers, I suppose.)